PALM SPRINGS — A portion of the prominent and popular Palm Canyon Drive will be closed in the near future to make way for al fresco dining, giving cash-strapped restaurants more space to serve diners.

Current COVID-19 emergency orders prohibit restaurants from offering indoor dining, which has meant residents and visitors must dine outside. But space is limited. Closing a portion of Palm Canyon Drive will exponentially expand the seating capability,

Additional restaurant al fresco dining options are also being considered for parking lots.

The pilot program, which is expected to kick off within the next two weeks, would allow for a full closure of Palm Canyon Drive between Baristo Road and Tahquitz Canyon Way.

Restaurants that are not in the closure area still have an option to expand outdoor dining on sidewalks with temporary land use permits, according to the city’s Development Services Director Flinn Fagg.

“We recognize that our local restaurants have struggled tremendously since the spread of COVID-19 effectively changed how we all operate,” said Councilmember Dennis Woods, who serves as the City’s liaison for expanding outdoor dining. “Staff has been working diligently with stakeholders over the last several months to develop an outdoor dining pilot program that we hope will make outdoor dining safer by allowing for social distancing and help our local economy as we head into the fall season in the Coachella Valley when typically many of our part-time residents and tourists return.”

Al fresco dining has increased in popularity with the advent of parklets, which are popular in Santa Barbara, San Francisco, Oakland, Los Angeles, San Jose, San Diego, Santa Monica, and Morro Bay.

Cities like San Francisco have successfully installed parklets throughout their city for many years. They are often creatively designed and enhance the pedestrian experience along their streets. The public uses these spaces as they would a park,

For more information about outdoor dining and applying for a temporary land use permit, click here.

Image Sources

  • Parklet seating: City of Alexandria, Va.